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Mental Health Resources are Available for Camden County Youth

(Camden, NJ) – The coronavirus pandemic has interrupted traditional access points to mental health services for children and teenagers. To help the county’s youth stay connected to critical services during this stressful time, the Camden County Youth Services Commission has collected information for more than 20 service providers in one convenient location.

For a full list of mental health resources, visit

“One of the greatest challenges presented by this pandemic is simultaneously combatting the crises in domestic abuse, poor mental health, hunger, and others that are hidden, and in some cases worsened, by steps to mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” said Freeholder Carmen Rodriguez. “By collecting these resources in one convenient location, we hope to make the first step in finding help much easier for families during this extremely difficult period. As we navigate a world with coronavirus, we have to make sure that we don’t ignore other factors that are critical to our physical and mental wellbeing.”

The collection includes contact information for behavioral health services, inpatient hospitalization resources, partial hospitalization programs, and intensive outpatient programs, as well as hotline information for youth and young adults, peer support and suicide prevention, peer services for mothers of children with special needs, and families working to deescalate household stress and frustration.

For all other resources not included, please visit or contact NJ211 directly by dialing 2-1-1; texting your zip code to 898-211; or chatting with them online. The NJ211 statewide service is free, confidential, multilingual and always open.

The Children’s Interagency Coordinating Council, The Camden County Youth Services Commission, and First Children Services collaborated in the collection of these resources and information.

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Governor Extends Grace Period for Property Tax Payments Until June 1

On Tuesday, April 28, Governor Phil Murphy signed Executive Order No. 130 which allows municipalities to extend the grace period for property tax payments due on May 1 to June 1. Under existing law, towns may only allow for a grace period of up to 10 days after the property tax deadline without interest or penalty.

“It is critical in this moment that we explore every option to lessen the burden on families and residents who have been financially impacted by the coronavirus pandemic,” said Freeholder Director Louis Cappelli, Jr. “The governor’s order provides municipalities with the flexibility to appropriately respond to the needs of their residents, and potentially offers a much-needed reprieve for many families in Camden County.”

The order takes effect immediately. For information regarding your municipality, contact your local tax collector’s office directly.

For more information regarding Executive Order No. 130, click here.

To read the order in full, visit here.

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New COVID-19 Testing Centers to Open in Camden

(Camden, NJ) Two new testing centers for COVID-19 will open in Camden to increase testing capability and bring it closer to home for many Camden residents. The new sites will replace the current testing location at Cooper’s Poynt Park, which will close May 1.

The Two New Sites Are:

  • 2600 Mount Ephraim Avenue in South Camden
    Camden Division of Motor Vehicles parking lot
    12 to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday
    Opening Day: Wednesday, April 29
  • 3101 Federal Street in East Camden
    Dudley Grange Park
    8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.*, Monday through Friday
    Opening Day: Tuesday, May 5

*Hours are subject to change after the first week of operations based on demand.

“Every day of this pandemic is a learning experience,” said Louis Cappelli Jr., Camden County Freeholder Director. “We believe that adding new locations will not only expand testing capability, but also improve access for residents of Camden County. Collaboration among Virtua, Cooper, and Camden County and the sharing of resources is the best way for us to help the communities that we all serve.”

“The jointly operated site at Cooper’s Poynt Waterfront Park has been a tremendous resource and we have been able to test more than 1,600 Camden County residents at that site,” Cappelli continued. “We recognize, however, changing the geography of the sites will allow us to serve more residents and increase our capacity. In addition, by opening two locations, we can better serve other neighborhoods in the city for individuals who don’t have access to a vehicle.”

“Testing is one of the most important weapons we have in our fight to stop the spread of COVID-19.  In order for testing to be effective, it must be widely accessible.  By opening a second testing location in Camden, we are taking another positive step forward to expand testing options for all communities,” said Kevin O’Dowd, JD, Co-President/CEO of Cooper.

“Cooper is committed to improving access to COVID-19 testing for City residents and our dedicated teams are setting up sites that are convenient to as many residents as possible,” said Anthony Mazzarelli, MD, JD, MBE, Co-President/CEO of Cooper.

“We feel confident that these two new testing locations will help us to better meet people where they are,” said Virtua Health President and CEO Dennis W. Pullin, FACHE.

Virtua staff will operate the South Camden location; Cooper employees will manage the site at Dudley Grange Park in Stockton neighborhood of East Camden. Patients can access either site by car or on foot. Each site will test any Camden County resident by appointment who has a referral for testing from a medical provider at Virtua, Cooper, CamCare, or other provider. 

To make an appointment, call 856-968-7100 (Monday through Friday 8am-5pm). The initial site at Cooper’s Poynt Park discontinued operations on May 1.

The Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers will support the testing with a community information campaign that will promote the availability of the new sites to Camden City residents. Cooper’s Ferry Partnership also collaborated with the two healthcare institutions and the county department of health to facilitate the mobile testing sites.

*Hours are subject to change after the first week of operations based on demand

Post has been updated.

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Verchio’s Produce & Deli Announces Several Employees Have Contracted COVID-19

SJO Readers:

My apologies for any confusion in my article about Verchio’s and for not initially clarifying that my article pertained to the Brooklawn location. I just spoke with Tony Verchio and here is an additional further update/clarification from him.

Anne Forline, Editor/Publisher South Jersey Observer

An update and clarification from Tony Verchio:

I want to thank all of those who reached to wish our team at Brooklawn wellness during the scare they had encountered.

I want also want to inform everyone that the Washington Township location has had NO employees test positive for COVID 19 nor has had any working employees show or report any symptoms since this whole pandemic started. We do not share employees with our other location so our staff has not been in contact with the team at the other store.

We work very hard to ensure our location is safe by sanitizing often and regularly. We have also acted early in installing plexiglass counter barriers to protect occupants at checkout. Furthermore, we require masks for all individuals to enter inside our location.

We offer curbside services Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 9am to 1 pm to accommodate those who would prefer to shop over the phone.

We also open at 6:30 am Tuesdays and Wednesdays to allow high risk individuals a tailored environment to shop in.

We will continue being here for those in need as we are dedicated to serving our customers.

We want to thank you all for your support.

God Bless you all.


“Several” employees of Verchio’s Produce and Deli have contracted the coronavirus, according to an April 28, 2020 post the store shared on Facebook.

“As you know from the beginning of this historic pandemic, we have taken and continue to take as many precautions and enacted as many policies as humanly possible to maintain the safety of our workers and customers. In spite of those measures we have, at this time, had several of our employees contract the virus. So we have had to shorten our staff while those sick recover. We are getting as many employees tested as possible with or without symptoms,” the post stated.

In order to combat the virus, the store has implemented many precautions and safety measures. “All areas both for customers and workers have been sanitized, beyond our usually daily sanitizing, several times. And will continue to be a priority. As always the doors are kept open to keep the air as fresh and circulated as possible. We were the first to install barriers between customers and workers for this very purpose.”

Business hours have been shortened from 9:00 am to 5:00 p.m. Face masks are required to shop in the store. To reduce crowding and increase safety, shopping parties have been reduced to one person. Floor arrows help to keep the flow of traffic in one direction.

Special shopping hours for senior citizens and high risk customers have been set aside on Wednesdays from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m.

Verchio’s remains open and strives to stay open to help families through this difficult time, the post stated. “Please look out for each other and God bless you.”


Verchio’s – Washington Township has issued a clarification:

“As of today, our location in Washington Township has not had an employee test positive for the Covid-19 virus. We will continue to monitor day to day operations with the number one priority being the health and safety of customers and employees. In these trying times we implore all our customers please wear appropriate face protection and be mindful of fellow patrons when shopping our store.”

Post updated on April 29, 2020 at 12:20 p.m. 1:00 p.m. 4:10 p.m.

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DEP Launches Online Stay-at-Home Activities, Learning Tools & Virtual Park Visits

To celebrate Earth Day and its 50th birthday, the Department of Environmental Protection is introducing new online resources, including stay-at-home activities, virtual tours of state parks and distance-learning opportunities. The online resources were developed and curated to enable New Jerseyans to celebrate Earth Day while still staying at home to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

The DEP was established on April 22, 1970 — America’s first official Earth Day, through a state law consolidating New Jersey’s environmental, resource protection and conservation agencies under the umbrella of one state agency.

“Earth Day 2020 is a milestone for New Jersey and the entire nation,” said Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe. “Fifty years ago, New Jersey committed itself to a new legacy of environmental protection, cleaning our air, water and land; today, we celebrate that vision and re-commit ourselves to the new challenges of protecting against climate change. This new website provides fun activities for learning, guides to environmentally themed crafts, and virtual visits to some of New Jersey’s most popular parks – all designed with an eye toward reminding us of just how important it is to take care of our fragile planet and each other. Today is also a day to publicly recognize the dedication of the DEP’s many employees – current and past – and the collaboration of the state’s environmental advocates.”

The DEP50 website provides a special section providing online resources to help residents celebrate Earth Day in the safety of their homes.

It provides step-by-step instructions on creative crafts that help remind us of the importance of conserving resources, reusing materials and recycling. Crafts include a bird feeder made from an orange peel and peanut butter, bracelets fashioned from soda can pull-tabs, and a decorative flower made from a plastic bottle. These activities use items found readily around the home.

Families can also download and print coloring and activity books and enjoy photos and fun facts about New Jersey’s wildlife. Links are also provided to distance-learning opportunities such as webinars and online classes from Rutgers University, New Jersey Audubon, the Alliance for New Jersey Environmental Education and others.

“Although interactions with the natural world are limited for most environmental educators at this time, we are still able to honor the 50th anniversary of Earth Day by offering ANJEE’s Remote EE Hub to all New Jerseyans,” said Michael Chodroff, President of the Alliance for New Jersey Environmental Education.

Visitors can also check in on active peregrine falcon and bald eagle nests through the live webcams maintained by the Wildlife Conservation Foundation of New Jersey, as well as the group’s many other interesting wildlife video and educational offerings.

New Jersey’s Division of Parks and Forestry is also bringing New Jersey’s parks to visitors virtually. 

Its popular #IHeartNJParks campaign now connects with the public through virtual access through its Facebook and Instagram pages:

On Facebook:

New Jersey State Parks, Forests & Historic Sites

On Instagram:

New Jersey State Parks

The campaign posts new content each day, including a special collection of park tours and projects, interviews with experts and never published historical photos.

In addition, through a series of stunning, even inspiring, videos, families can make virtual visits to popular parks and historic sites from High Point to Cape May Point.

Visitors can:

  • Soar above the unique maritime forest that surrounds Barnegat Light, or Old Barney as the venerable lighthouse in Ocean County is affectionately known; enjoy a bird’s-eye view of Batsto Village, the historic heart of the Pine Barrens in Wharton State Forest.
  • Explore the eerie, concrete gun emplacements of historic Fort Mott along the Delaware River in Salem County; enjoy stunning views of the pristine beaches and dunes of Island Beach State Park in Ocean County.
  • Tour the wetlands and beaches of the ecological gem that is Cape May Point State Park; and soak in inspirational mountain views of High Point State Park in the extreme northwestern corner of the state in Sussex County.

For New Jersey DEP’s Earth Day resources, visit: